Friday, January 23, 2015

Ice, Ice, Ice……or Nine Days at Sea! 

Thurs January 22, 2015

Good bye to the Antarctic

Today we woke up to see the tip of land on South America…..we will be cruising around the Drake passage and Cape Horn. After the last couple of days in very rough water again it is nice to be in calm waters again.  It is very warm outside….we can put away the scarves, gloves and long underwear. 

Yesterday was kind of a lost day because the seas were so rough standing was a challenge and looking out the window was a challenge too….the waves were so high.  I think it was rougher yesterday than what it was  when we were going south.  Playing trivia at 4:00 in the Crows Nest felt like you were on a roller coaster, not only going up and down but side to side too.   Amazing that no one that we know of fell down.  Neither of us felt the full effects of sea sickness….I worried that I would be sea sick so I put on the little wrist things to sea sickness (apparently) just in case…..So yesterday was day of reading lying down!

I have been totally amazed by this trip.  I have only been on one other cruise, last year, with Lori and her Mom, ( I usually like to be hiking and walking around on land.)  That is when we saw this cruise on the TV in the room…..both Lori and I have always wanted to go to the Antarctic.  I have looked into trips that you can step foot on the ice continent…..but they are priced way out of reach for me  (anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000plus) for a 7 to 10 day trip and you still had to get to Ushuaia to start the trip.  I think Holland America has done a wonderful job of putting together this cruise.  There are only 3 trips this season and I think this is the only line that has the permission/licences/whatever they need to travel in this sensitive area.  There are many rules and regulations that they must follow and they keep reminding people about them through a letter and announcements (nothing blowing off the ship, no loud noises, no food or drink on the open decks, not feeding any birds or wildlife, no smoking on deck).  They have brought a team of 3 people who work  on the different expeditions and stations on board to do talks and answer all our questions and are available most all the time.  There was a commentary during most of the afternoons as we cruised down the Antarctic Peninsula talking about what we were seeing.  The ship went slowly down the coast and into little harbours so we could see the penguin rookeries and some of the stations manned scientists from 26 different countries.

Pictures from our balcony!

We saw birds and seals, whales breaching and penguins “flying” out of the water.  Lots of beautiful landscapes of ice and snow….glaciers, icebergs, and more mountains than I thought there would be.

A lot of days on the ocean, a few disappointments (the Falklands and Palmer Station meeting of the people  living there) because of bad seas……but all in all it has been fabulous……and we still have a week to go!

PS wifi on ship has been slow and off…I am posting these last two entries from Ushuaia tomorrow.  Hoping also that the wifi will load the pictures I have picked from Lori’s email/blog.  We are only there from 8:00 to 1:30 and we want to walk around explore and get some caches….stretch our sea legs!

Can you see the bottom of the iceberg?

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